A cool, breezy morning with scattered showers and piles of chunky, grey clouds looking like your comforter on a Sunday morning. The clouds clear to allow some afternoon sun and a high of 72F. The summer of 2020 winds to a close with some show-stopping weather.
Monthly Archives: August 2020
Daily Catskills: 08/29/20
Rain began just before dawn and continued until late morning. Muggy with moody, low lying cloud looking like rolling, grey waves. Late afternoon sun and a high of 79F. Early evening rain storm turns sunset into an extraordinary light show. An enigmatic day.
Daily Catskills: 08/28/20
More rain in a week of continual rain, including Thursday’s afternoon tornado and surrounding storm. Humid with high of 77F with a thick blanket of cloud.
Northern Catskills Essentials
You can now order one of the Catskills’ best beauty products by phone or email from Northern Catskills Essentials and it’s worth it for the $4 delivery charge anywhere in New York State. This $7 soap is made by hand in Stamford, Upstate New York – just north of the Catskills State Park and it’s a gorgeous product. Reasonably priced in stylish packaging, the soap makes a superb gift in addition to the company’s creams and lotions. It’s beautifully light with a smooth creamy lather that doesn’t dry out the skin, which is a miracle as far as soap is concerned. The scents made with natural essential oils are robust, but not overwhelming. Finally, the packaging is sustainable paper and with each bar, you’ll be throwing out one less plastic bottle of shower gel. Treat yourself and you’ll never use another soap again.
Daily Catskills: 08/23/20
A hot, humid and sunny morning and a high of 82F. Another gorgeous summer day.
Daily Catskills: 08/22/20
A mix of sun and thick cloud with a high of 85F. 20 minutes of heavy, late afternoon, hay crushing rain.
Daily Catskills: 08/21/20
Sunny and hot with a high of 81F and hazy cloud.
Daily Catskills: 08/20/20
A chilly start to the day: 48F at 7am, rising to 75F by mid-afternoon by which time we had clear sky and only slivers of cloud remained.
Daily Catskills: 08/19/20
A cloudy, humid morning but still cold at 49F, rising to 63F. Overcast with intense cloud cover for most of the day, with the sun coming out late afternoon. A high of 73F. Alfie guards the orchard.
Daily Catskills: 08/18/20
A hot and hazy start to the day. A high of 76F with a cooling breeze and big billowing clouds. Gorgeous summer day.
Daily Catskills: 08/17/20
A warm and sunny morning with an even hotter afternoon for a high of 76F until the rain at 4pm. All the clouds passed through today, like there was a cloud convention down the road and everyone was required to show up.
Daily Catskills: 08/16/20
A much cooler morning, fresh and breezy with mist over the mountains. A mix of sun and clouds for most of the day with a high of 72F. Clouds clearing mid-afternoon. A beautiful summer day.
Wild Tea: Goldenrod
The wild goldenrod is in bloom and makes a tasty and healthful tea. It grows by rhizome and you’ll usually find whole fields of it. They are tall rods, about three to six feet high with hand-sized draping clusters of many tiny vivid yellow blossoms at the top of the rods. Thin leaves, two to six inches long, grow all the way down the stem alternately, and are hairy.
Put fresh blossoms into a mason jar of hot water (not boiling) to make a delicious fresh tea that tastes like a strong green tea. Sweeten with a dash of honey.
Goldenrod is said to have a number of health benefits. It soothes a sore throat, reduces pain and inflammation. It is also used for gout, joint pain (rheumatism), arthritis, as well as eczema and other skin conditions.
The flowers don’t freeze well, so if you want to save some tea for winter, make a condensed batch and freeze to dilute later with water. To make a condensed batch of tea, simply soak as much fresh goldenrod as you can fit in a mason jar of hot water. Strain through a sieve and freeze.
Bee Wild & Free
The last year has been quite an extraordinary one, maybe even the most extraordinary year of my life and quite an incredible experience. The upshot is that I quarantined alone on this hill for over three months without any human contact. I had split up with my husband last August and our farm lay abandoned as I considered my options: go back home to England? Move back to New York City? I tried both, then along came Covid-19.
We had made a mess of beekeeping too. Someone suggested that we smear honey on the outside of the hive, for some reason that I can’t remember, and the bees just kept getting robbed until they absconded for good.Continue reading
Daily Catskills: 08/15/20
Halfway through August already. Dreamy morning sky with clouds just sparse enough for it to be bright and sunny. A high of 75F. Breezy and mild. Day 3 of hay making: baling.
Daily Catskills: 08/14/20
A high of 81F yet cooler than yesterday because of a stronger breeze and plump, billowing clouds, some on the dark side. Tractor Lesson Day 2: fluffing up the downed hay like an eighties hair-do.
Blueberry Fruit Cake
We had an extraordinary year for apples in 2017 and one of the guests on my radio show at the time gave me a fabulous recipe for a Heritage Apple Fruit Cake that is my one go-to cake. This is turning out to be a poor year for apples on our farm, so I’m using blueberries because I have so many of them. I’ve also modified this recipe even further because I like my cake really moist, chewy and fruity, so I bake it in a flatter pan, for less time and I’m using an extra half-cup of fruit. The special thing about this cake is that all the fruit sinks to the bottom and you get half-fruit, half-cake pudding with a slightly crispy topping that is really delicious. Needless to say, if you need to have your cake thoroughly cooked all the way through extend your cooking time to 40 minutes.
1 cup AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 oz butter (1 stick)
1 cup sugar, plus one tablespoon for sprinkling
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp almond extract
2.5 cups blueberries
Soften the butter and whip it together with the sugar, vanilla, almond extract. Add the two eggs and beat them in. Mix the whole mixture well. Sift the flour and baking powder and add it into the butter/sugar mix gradually. Mix until you have a batter. The batter will be very stiff. Once you have a smooth batter, gently fold the blueberries into the batter but do so very gently – trying not to smash the fruit. You will end up smashing the fruit, but just try not to. Put the mixture into a square, flat, greased cake tin (9x9x2 inches). Flatten it into the pan gently and sprinkle the top with a tablespoon of sugar. Bake on 350 degrees for 30 minutes. (Or if you need your batter thoroughly cooked all the way through, do 40 minutes).
Daily Catskills: 08/13/20
Hot and dry with an assortment of scene-stealing clouds and a light breeze. A high of 80F but feels like a scorcher. A good day for hay-making.
Daily Catskills: 08/12/20
Another hazy morning with mist in the valley and the occasional, gentle breeze shaking last night’s rain out of the trees. A high of 81F. Sunny at dusk. Peachy in the orchard.
Daily Catskills: 08/11/20
A smoking hot Tuesday: balmy with a high of 86F. Hazy sky. The perfect week for hay baling. Except until it rained torrentially at 10pm.
Daily Catskills: 08/10/20
Another misty start to the day and fresh, but getting gradually hotter and hotter until a high of 90F. Rain at 5pm. Steamy.
Daily Catskills: 08/09/20
Another misty morning rising to a sunny high of 83F with rolling clouds.
Daily Catskills: 08/08/20
Misty, hazy morning sky, with mixed clouds and warm in the sun. Grey-bottomed clouds threaten rain in the distance. A high of 81F.
Daily Catskills: 08/07/20
More overnight rain spilling into mid-morning. A mix of sun and clouds for the rest of the day. A high of 75F.
Daily Catskills: 08/06/20
Cool and breezy with a high of 77F. Warm in the sunshine. A sky full of mixed clouds like they were thrown into the air. This had better not be the end of bikini weather. That’s all I’m saying.
Daily Catskills: 08/05/20
A fresh and breezy morning with plump clouds set in a milky sky. A high of 75F. Post-rain forest perfect for foraging.
Daily Catskills: 08/04/20
Torrential rain all day until 5pm, (3.7 inches by 4.30pm), tornado watch and a high of 69F. Stormy. Two hours before dusk, the clouds roll away across the sky like curtains opening on stage to reveal a sunny sky like nothing happened, but we’re still all soaking wet and cursing.
Daily Catskills: 08/03/20
Sunny and dry with scattered clouds and high of 81F. Baking in the sun.
Daily Catskills: 08/02/20
Early morning rain continued most of the afternoon with scene stealing clouds rolling away. Sunny for the rest of the day. A high of 86F. Scorcher.
Daily Catskills: 08/01/20
Steamy, muggy with heavy swirling cloud and a slight breeze with a high of 84F. Hazelnuts ripen.
Daily Catskills: 07/31/20
Sunny and mild. A high of 82F: a fair close to July.